Changing Trends In What We Consider “Home”

By Justin Gaudian

Housing refers to constructed buildings or houses that provide adequate living spaces for the purpose of sheltering people, but a ‘home’ is a much more personal concept. Homes are the places we create out of housing. They are the incubation chambers for young families to grow and flourish, the study base for students to garner a successful education, the studio for musicians to expand their musical careers, or the perfect venue for a young social networker to host their perfect event, each room is given life through the memories and experiences shared. They are much more than just places we choose to sleep; homes should have the resources each of these different individuals need to live comfortable meaningful lives and encourage growth and wellbeing. They should be a functional representation of our individuality and the lifestyles we choose for ourselves.

Housing refers to constructed buildings or houses that provide adequate living spaces for the purpose of sheltering people, but a ‘home’ is a much more personal concept. Homes are the places we create out of housing. They are the incubation chambers for young families to grow and flourish, the study base for students to garner a successful education, the studio for musicians to expand their musical careers, or the perfect venue for a young social networker to host their perfect event, each room is given life through the memories and experiences shared. They are much more than just places we choose to sleep; homes should have the resources each of these different individuals need to live comfortable meaningful lives and encourage growth and wellbeing. They should be a functional representation of our individuality and the lifestyles we choose for ourselves.

This individuality can be seen reflected in the changing social concept of housing. Many individuals are living in less “adequate” or less traditional housing situations by choice. The movement of young people into more transient lifestyles like the mobile home, #vanlife, or digital nomad trends (not to mention the Tiny Home Movement) are changing the social concept of what could define adequate housing needs among younger generations. Many of these new social trends reflect other trends in our society. The urgency created by impending climate change, for example, has driven younger generations to experiment with lives based less in wasteful materialism and more in experience. The transient and minimalistic lifestyle required for a dwelling built in the rear of a conversion van or the lifestyle minimalism that accompanies a life in a tiny home can be seen a byproduct of these changes.

Many individuals in our society still call the streets, temporary housing, and shelters their home. The prevalence of homelessness in America is a persistent reminder that many do not have access to the personal value and structure an adequate home can provide.

Affordable housing seeks to answer many of the calls of low-income individuals on the streets by subsidizing the renting cost while an individual gets back on their feet. But, the answers provided do not ring true with every individual. Many unhoused individuals do not want to be housed in the traditional sense. Many call the street their home and find contentment offered by a less traditional, nonsedentary, transient lifestyle.

The prevalence of these new trends has us at Two Way Street re-analyzing the concepts of adequate housing as they stand, to shed new light on what constitutes an adequate home in our modern society. How can we as a society accommodate all the differing individual preferences regarding housing?

To better understand the official institutional concept of housing and compare it to evolving social trends, Two Way Street dug into different resources to analyze their definitions of housing and homelessness. To see these definitions and provide us with some of your thoughts of your own on housing please see the Definitions section on page 3 of our March 2019 issue. We encourage you to also take a crack at answering some of the questions we have posed for you.

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